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getting out the WORD - the first sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 07 December 2017 20:03

the PRAYER...
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory.

Mark 13:24-37

the DEVOTION...
Back in seminary, the rule of thumb was, "Context is everything!" It matters who says what to whom! When they say it and where! Otherwise, it's easy for the words meaning anything. Like this week's gospel...

From the get-go, we see the words and our minds flash ahead to some "second coming" of Jesus. Sun darkened! Moon obscured! Stars falling from the sky! Sounds like Armageddon, right? But the context might, just as well, point us to something else entirely. You see, these words are spoken not after the resurrection or before the ascension. They're spoken on the Wednesday of Holy Week! The day before Maundy Thursday! Two days before Good Friday! And Jesus' warning to "keep awake" sounds a whole lot like what he told the disciples in the garden, that night in which he was betrayed! Sooooooo...

What if the Son of Man coming with great power and glory isn't hundreds - even thousands - of years in the future. Around the corner. Over the hill. At some so-called second coming (a phrase, by the way, that is never used in the bible). But what if it points us to that Friday afternoon, to an empty hilltop, outside the walls of an old, old city. What if that is the power and the glory? And what if the new beginning we're, so eagerly, looking for, actually, lies behind us?

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - christ the king
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 30 November 2017 17:08

the PRAYER...
O God of power and might, your Son shows us the way of service, and in him we inherit the riches of your grace. Give us the wisdom to know what is right and the strength to serve the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[Jesus said to the disciples:] "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him...."

Matthew 25:31-46

the DEVOTION...
Say the word 'salvation' and we're, immediately, swept up to the highest heights! Pearly gates! Streets of gold! Angels! Halos! Harps! Being saved - for most of us - means dying and going to heaven. But as I was getting ready for Reformation Sunday, this year, what struck me is how seldom heaven's ever mentioned by Brother Martin! Salvation isn't, so much, what awaits on the "other side," but what's in front of our eyes!

"From Christ," Luther writes, "the good things have flowed and are flowing into us. From us they flow on to those who have need of them." That, for Luther, is salvation! God loves us and we, in turn, love the people around us! Just like Jesus! That outer darkness Matthew's been talking about? That fire of hell? It doesn't lie over the hill or around the bend. It's what keeps us from caring for each other, right here and right now! But Jesus changes all that! He frees us! Saves us! So we, finally, are able to go and do the same!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 24th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 22:23

the PRAYER...
Righteous God, our merciful master, you own the earth and all its peoples, and you give us all that we have. Inspire us to serve you with justice and wisdom, and prepare us for the joy of the day of your coming, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
[Jesus said to the disciples:] "As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 25:1-13

the DEVOTION...
Finally! A passage we Americans can understand! One we can sink our teeth into! One we can believe in! One we can live by! Where value and worth are determined by what we earn, by what we deserve!

One slave receives five talents and makes five talents! Another receives two and makes two more! A third receives one but adds nothing to it. Digs a hole! Hides it away! And when all is done and said, that one is declared worthless. Outer darkness! Weeping! Gnashing! We listen and, then, we say, "Praise to you, O Christ!"

But we need to look, again. No one redeemed. No one delivered. Not a word about love or forgiveness, about Jesus or cross. No promise given. No faith inspired. Sure, it's chapter and verse! Yes, it's printed in red! But this is not - IS NOT - the gospel of the Lord! In fact, it's everything that gospel isn't! So, at times like this, it's important to remember what good news really, truly is... In the grace and mercy of god, Jesus Christ was given... to die for us... and for his sake... god forgives... each and every... one and all... period... exclamation mark... end of sentence...
Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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